Artificial Intelligence in Health Care--Will the Value Match the Hype?


Artificial intelligence (AI) and its many related applications (ie, big data, deep analytics, machine learning) have entered medicine's "magic bullet" phase. Desperate for a solution for the never-ending challenges of cost, quality, equity, and access, a steady stream of books, articles, and corporate pronouncements makes it seem like health care is on the cusp of an "AI revolution," one that will finally result in high-value care. While AI has been responsible for some stunning advances, particularly in the area of visual pattern recognition,1-3 a major challenge will be in converting AI-derived predictions or recommendations into effective action. The most pressing problem with the US health care system is not a lack of data or analytics but changing the behavior of millions of patients and clinicians. Physician behaviors, including ordering tests, procedures, pharmaceuticals, and other treatments, are responsible for 80% of health care costs.